On Getting Noticed in the New York Art World

Micro Persuasion: Blog Crisis Catches Museums Sleeping Steve Rubel blogs about a UK painter who has placed his works of art in four of New York’s most prestigious art museums. The Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Natural History.

The paintings were placed there by artist Banksy who wore a disguise while placing them into the collections. Bansky rationalized that “They’re good enough to be in there, so I don’t see why I should wait”


‘Discount Soup Can’, Screen Print on Paper. 2005 Installed 13 March 05

“This historic occasion has less to do with finally being embraced by the fine art establishment and is more about the judicious use of a fake beard and some high strength glue.” Banksy said.

The real question would have been how many of the regular patrons in the museum of Modern Art would have guessed that his work didn’t belong without the museum pulling his piece. My guess is very few due to the somewhat cryptic nature of the modern art form.

In fact, in terms of the Museum of Modern Art, you might argue that his act alone is a form of art and somebody ought to make the case for having them put it back up. Although you can’t just have any old person hanging their art up in a museum, in a strange way the fact that he did it at the MOMA is a statement about what it takes to get noticed and the stranglehold that a museum can have on distribution and and promotion of art.

You might argue that his placement of his art in the MOMA was a blog. A blog that is trying to share it’s voice in a crowded world that places tight controls on the voices through traditional journalism and the media. If there is space in the world for blogs to exist alongside traditional media, perhaps there is space for Banksy’s work in the world of traditional art.

It’s not a bad soup can and the commentary on what is art in contrast with Andy Warhol’s soup can is an interesting one. Banksy’s generic soup can indeed lacks the polish of Warhol’s Campbell’s soup can but it is not bad art and as the blogger might lack the finese of the New York Times, sometimes, every so often a voice that comes from the rough may have something equally important to say.

I hope Banksy continues to hang his art in the world’s museums and that someone recognizes the significance of what he is saying.

For more on the prank see “Wooster Collective : A Celebration of Street Art” For more on Banksy see, Banksy, the Exterior Paint Specialist.

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